Photos of passing time
Thirty five years ago, on June 17, Diego Goldberg and his wife Suzy began taking pictures of each other. Diego, a renowned Argentinean photographer, used a simple portrait format: a dark background, no props, unchanging lighting. Each looking directly at the camera. Their faces, tightly framed, no props, no special hairstyles or makeup, shaped by the lighting. A classical approach, simple, free of artificial aesthetics. With the passing years, the pyramid of time settles in. Children arrive one after another, first Nicolas with his chubby cheeks, then Matias with his bright big eyes, and much later, Sébastien, more and more handsome with the advancing years. No smiling, if only slightly from time to time. Diego will start wearing glasses, Suzy will change her hairstyle, the children will become adolescents, then men, all three bearded like their father. With graying hair, and growing wrinkles, they reveal their personalities.
No performances. Truth, nothing but the truth in these touching, moving, enchanting portraits, images seemingly passive, but so compelling. How do we become so absorbed by these unadulterated pictures? Perhaps it is the stark lighting, the opposition of light and shadow that projects these faces, throwing them nearly out of their frames. They seem to be coming towards us, we might be able to touch them, but they are still, attentive, as if ready to speak.
And yes, it is a conversation with Diego telling us his story, the story of his family over time and through his family, we see our own. He is talking about us, we are the people his is shooting. His family pictures become those of all of our families.
Diego has captured the intensity of our biggest fear: aging. Yet he did it delicately, tenderly, shooting the subject most dear to him, his family, exploiting with simplicity the incredible power of photography!
He encourages us to look truth in the eyes with the passing years. He shows us the face of passing time.
Eliane Laffont, New York, 25th of January 2011
Founder of the US Gamma Photo Agency
Co founder and US President of Sygma Photo News
Senior consultant Visa pour L’Image